Santa Clara, California — The Denver Broncos won their third National Football League championship with a 24-10 upset victory over the top-seeded Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 on Sunday.
The Broncos scored early and never trailed as they held the league's highest-scoring offense in check en route to capturing their first Super Bowl title in 17 years.
The Broncos defense was the story of the game, but Peyton Manning retiring a champion will be the story of the game, if that makes sense.
Broncos 24-10 Panthers, 1:00, 4th quarter
Facing 3rd-and7 from their own 40, C.J. Anderson goes five yards. Denver has to punt, but there’s less than 90 second left in the game and Carolina is out of timeouts.
Broncos 24-10 Panthers, 2:21, 4th quarter
Newton sacked for the seventh time in this game, second time by Demarcus Ware. It’s now 4th and 24 from their own 6. They’re punting.
Two-point conversion! Broncos 24-10 Panthers, 3:08, 4th quarter
Broncos get two more on a Manning pass to Bennie Fowler. Carolina will be out of its misery in just 3:08.
Touchdown! C.J. Anderson scores!
C.J. Anderson goes up the middle for 2 yards to give Denver a 22-10 lead with 3:08 left. They’re now going for two.
The underdog Denver Broncos, relying on their top-ranked defense, increased their lead to 16-7 over the Carolina Panthers heading into the fourth quarter of Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on Sunday.
A missed field goal and costly interception allowed the Broncos to continue to hold down the top-seeded Panthers, the league's highest scoring team in the regular season.
With Carolina quarterback Cam Newton, the league MVP, throwing with confidence, the Panthers marched down the field to open the second half while trailing 13-7.
But the drive stalled and kicker Graham Gano's 44-yard field goal attempt went off the right upright.
Broncos kicker Brandon McManus did not squander his chance at three points when he converted a 30-yarder for his third field goal of the game to increase Denver's lead to 16-7 after Denver quarterback Peyton Manning hit Emmanuel Sanders on strikes of 25 and 22 yards.
A 42-yard reception by speedy Ted Ginn Jr. from Newton put Carolina in scoring range again.
But a bad overthrow by the Panthers quarterback was intercepted by T.J. Ward, who fumbled but Denver retained the ball when Danny Travathan recovered it on the seven-yard line for his second recovery of the game.
The Panthers, who trailed 10-0 after the first quarter, charged back at the start of the second quarter as Newton led Carolina on a touchdown drive.
Newton, the NFL's best dual-threat quarterback, ran for 11 yards and again for seven and then hit Greg Olsen and Corey Brown on passes to set up a one-yard touchdown plunge by Jonathan Stewart to make it 10-7.
But Denver answered right back when Jordan Norwood cut across the field on a Super Bowl record 61-yard punt return to set up a McManus 33-yard field goal that put Denver ahead 13-7.
Denver had jumped out in front in the opening quarter on a stunning sack-fumble on Newton caused by pass-rusher Von Miller that sent the ball bouncing into the end zone where defensive end Malik Jackson scooped it up for a touchdown.
That brilliant play followed a 34-yard field goal by McManus after Manning led the Broncos on a 64-yard opening drive of the game.
(Editing by Frank Pingue)